RAPS is short for Regional Animal Protection Society, a registered charity and operator of a sanctuary which houses and cares for nearly 500 homeless or abandoned cats in Richmond, BC, Canada. The Neko Files is a celebration of the sanctuary and all those who live and work there.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Jake (II)

When Jake's family grew by one human baby, he and another pet cat found themselves relegated to being outdoor cats. And then apparently even that was too much for the human family, who opted to surrender them to the SPCA. Their neighbor, a former RAPS volunteer, found out about this turn of events. Worried that the cats may end up having to be euthanized if they could not be adopted out soon enough, the neighbor paid the adoption fee and brought them to RAPS.

Despite receiving such a miserable demotion from his human family, Jake has lost none of his faith in humanity. He continues to be as much of a people lover as ever and delights in any loves and cuddles that might come his way.

photo by Barbara

Friday, January 28, 2011

Update: two amazing girls


Our incredibly friendly feral kitten Kaslo has now gone to a forever home. After just four days at the No. 5 Road shelter, she was adopted along with a 5-6 year old female named Licorice. Simone, who works at both the city shelter and the sanctuary, tells me Licorice has been waiting a while for adoption - so great news that she's found a home! As for Kaslo, it's hard to believe that just three months ago she was living under a bush at a feeding site.


In less obviously upbeat news but every bit as much showing what RAPS is all about, longtime sanctuary resident Mousie passed away last week. This is more than a decade after the thromboembolism that could have so easily led to her being euthanized back in 2000. Now that's beating the odds!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


This 4 1/2 month old kitten was found on the side of a road heading to Whistler.

The people who spotted her stopped and discovered her to be not only tame but very friendly - even though she appears to be totally blind. They took her to the vet and discovered she does in fact seem to have some sight in her right eye. Unfortunately, the vet also had to inform them that she had tested positive for leukemia.

For her rescuers, a family from Bowen Island, this came as a blow. They'd intended to adopt her themselves, but with other pets and several young children in the house, there would be no way to guarantee that she'd be kept separate from the other animals. Euthanizing her as the vet had suggested was out of the question, and so they searched online for alternatives. And found RAPS.

When they brought her in, they told staff her name was Wonder. Entirely appropriate when you listen to this purr that, despite all she's been through, comes loud and clear. My photos can't begin to capture this, so please check out Phaedra's video:

And here's the text she posted to accompany it:
"We've been blessed with the beauty that is this amazing little half blind sick kitten. She was dumped, she can only see out of one eye and that one is infected, she's tested positive for feline leukemia yet she's the happiest most loving little darling. We should all learn a lesson from this little girl."

Monday, January 24, 2011


Savannah is another one of the cats trapped by Val Jones on North Fraser Harbour Commission property a few years back.

She is the daughter of Val (named for Val Jones), and the sister of Foxy, Latte, Paulo and Fury.

Foxy & Savannah
photo by Barbara

Savannah looks so much like her brother, Foxy, that it can be difficult to tell the two apart, particularly in photographs where you can't rely on differences in behavior. My method is to look for the two dark specks that Foxy has, one on each side of his nose. Savannah hasn't got them.

Does anyone have any "tricks" they use to tell similar cats apart?

photo by Barbara

photo by Barbara

photo by Michele

Friday, January 21, 2011


Cute little Latte is the daughter of Val and the sister of Foxy. She was trapped along with other siblings Paulo, Savannah and Fury near the airport (see Val's story for details). Members of this cat family can be found here and there in the front courtyard of the sanctuary.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Trapped as a feral at a recycling plant, Pumpkin came to RAPS back in March of 2000. He has the distinction of being one of the original FIV cats at the sanctuary.

All this time later, he's still maintained his feral attitude, subjecting staff like Ann to a little head-clawing as she tries to work around him. Even so, perhaps inspired by her success in getting some cuddles out of our hissy Sissy, Ann has been experimenting with trying to get past Pumpkin's defenses.

She describes a recent attempt:
"He was sleeping back to back with Jeremy on day. I was scratching Jeremy and Pumpkin was threatening to kill me. So I just started scratching him up and down his back. So funny, he stops mid hiss, mouth hanging open.... Now if you're careful you can reach around and scratch him. But I warn you, it's like scratching a newspaper written in Braille!"

Monday, January 17, 2011

Little Orange

Little Orange came to RAPS around two years ago when the woman who'd been feeding the semi-feral moved and couldn't look after him any more. She said she hoped to be able to come and get him after she moved to the new place, but unfortunately that hope never came to anything.

Volunteer Julian remembers remembers when Little Orange, or Rowan, as he likes to call him was a new arrival at the sanctuary. He would apparently spend his time just sitting up on a shelf in his cage and peering over the edge. Gradually, he became more and more comfortable with the people at RAPS.

These days he's a friendly guys and likes few things better than a good tummy rub.

photo by Michele

Friday, January 14, 2011


Sissy is a former feral who, through patient attention and determined affection from Catherine, has begun to think that humans might be OK.

When she was brought in 4-5 years ago, Sissy was just not into the prospect of any human contact. Hardly unusual for a feral.

But Catherine took a shine to her, grouchy face and all, and decided to make a project of her.

As Sissy was already out of her cage by this time, Catherine would just approach and try to touch her whenever she had the chance. This clearly got Sissy's interest, as she started following Catherine around the room. Eventually, Catherine was able to make contact and stroke Sissy. When Sissy was caged for a time due to some medical issue, she was able to introduce her to the concept of sitting on a lap, something that Sissy decided was indeed rather nice.

These days, if Catherine sits on the floor when she comes in in the morning, Sissy may actually come over of her own accord and climb onto her lap. She's even had some luck with being able to pick her up.

All this work at socializing Sissy has paid off for the rest of us too, as Sissy has started to allow others to touch and stroke her. She still has a peculiar habit of hissing when approached, which can be off-putting until you realize that she has no intention of following it up with teeth or claws. Get past (i.e. ignore) the hissing barrier and Sissy immediately capitulates, allowing herself to enjoy being stroked.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


This post started with a photo I snapped on Monday night:

Great-looking cat, wonderfully silly-looking pose. But who is it?
I contacted RAPS staff Lisa, Leslie and Debbie to discover the identity of this unknown (to me) kitty.

It turns out that his name is Cruiser. He was surrendered to RAPS when the couple who had owned him parted ways. They hoped to be able to take him back, but consensus over which person would take possession appeared to be lacking -- a call from one person to arrange a pick up for their cat was followed a day later by a call from the other who also wanted to come and get their cat.

Not wanting Cruiser to be the victim of a battle between the estranged partners, RAPS decided that neither would be allowed to take him until it could be determined just who was the lawful owner...

As you can see, Cruiser is still with us.

I asked Phaedra, who's a friend of his, to tell us a little about Cruiser. Here's what she had to say:
"Cruiser has trained us well: he gets what he wants, goes where he wants and still manages to be invisible. Mostly because he doesn't like a fuss or a crowd.
If he wants something, be it a cuddle or to be let in or out of the single, he will let you know. 
He's a very good kitty."
photo by Barbara

Monday, January 10, 2011


Dubby was brought to RAPS as an unspayed female... or at least she was thought to be. When she was taken in to be spayed, the vet discovered the job had already been done. Hearing the news, Carol gave her the name Dubby, short for "double spay."

photo by Barbara

Personality-wise, I find the "super fluffy monkey" description on Barbara Doduk's Flickr page both amusing and apt.

photo by Barbara

I didn't get to see quite the upside down monkeying pictured above, but a visit with Dubby during my shift this evening did involve a more than adequate amount of purring, rubbing, wriggling and waving of paws. A lovely girl.

Friday, January 7, 2011


photo by Barbara

Well-loved longtime sanctuary resident Georgie came to us after being surrendered for peeing.

While out of the running for adoption due to this unfortunate habit, at the cat sanctuary his engaging, affectionate personality makes him a joy to have around.

Here he is with Squirrel, working out who's going to wash whom:

Georgie is just as ready to share a cuddle with his human friends, if not more so.

He knows several variations of the cat dance for attention:

Other times he may just look you squarely in the eye and talk to you until you get the point. Venture closer and you'll be rewarded with the very best purrs, rubs and headbutts. Now who could say no to that?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Birdie came to the sanctuary some time ago as a feral.

photo by Barbara

For ages I simply knew her as the Cat Who Stares.
She does this very well.

Believe it or not, these photos were all taken on different days!

While Birdie likes her cat friends and can often be found in the "cuddle puddle" on top of one of the appliances in the singlewide, for a long time she was never really comfortable with people. She'd look at let you look back, but any attempt to touch would be rewarded with a good swift swat.

photo by Michele

Lately, she's started to let people make contact. Leslie says she always seemed like she wanted to be touched, but she just couldn't quite bring herself to allow it.

Whatever her reasons (and it may just be a function of her age), I'm glad to see Birdie finally allowing herself to enjoy some love from all who would like to be her human friends.